Manitoba MSTH leaders Chris Dobbs and Arlene Kolb were invited to attend a meeting with the Federal Minister of Health Jane Philpott in Winnipeg on July 22, 2017. Here is Chris Dobbs' summary of the event.
With over 30 people in attendance the moms nervously waited their turn to speak to the Minister. Arlene started with a question: "You want to know what I want? I want my son back! All I have is his hat, and his ashes, I smell his hat everyday to be close to him", as she picks up the hat and smells it.....peoples eyes welled up with tears. She stated clearly that we need to stop the stigma and we need treatment. I then spoke about Adam and who he was, and that he was not his addiction. I talked about our lack of resources and how shameful it is that we have no medical detox or no protocol for our Doctors and emergency health services, no protocol to really help those suffering with the disease of opiate addiction. I went on to read a letter my son wrote, a letter begging me to help him and not give up on him, and that he was scared. Not a dry eye in the house. I questioned whether anyone would put their child in the Main Street project, the only available place to detox. A place filled with both people addicted to alcohol and those addicted to drugs. You bunk up with six others, all sick and one was even a drug dealer. Everyone shook their heads. I also asked Max Waddell, from Winnipeg Police Service, as he spoke to picking up persons who are overdosing, what happens to them, what do you do with them? All they can do is take them to ER, check them send them on their way. I asked Minister Geortzen about the recent approval of suboxone and what Doctors are administering it. He admitted that this is a problem, getting Doctors trained to work with suboxone .
Lastly, I related my own experience of 14 years ago, a heart attack. I mentioned that we have protocols and I was treated immediately, given medicines, monitored in hospital for a week, sent to rehabilitation, counselling and follow up every six months which continues to this day! We need protocols to treat people dependant on substances who seeking help. They should not be treated differently than anyone else in the health system.